Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

As per my previous musings, I believe that trust is THE universal currency. Unlike forgiveness, which is unmerited favour (what Christians call grace), trust is merited favour. It must be earned. This truth holds for every situation and relationship including the marketplace.

In Canada, we trust banks to keep our money safe and accessible at any time. As citizens of Greece discovered in the recent past, not all banks are trustworthy all the time! The restoration of a broken trust can take a long time and in some cases may not prove feasible.

There was a time when we first deposited money into the bank without any personal experience to verify the bank’s trustworthiness. Why did we trust? The simple answer is we believed other significant persons in our lives like our parents when they assured us banks were trustworthy. These “references” had earned our trust and as a result we felt safe establishing a bank account. Of course, this “reference” approach can get us into trouble if we rely solely on the opinion of someone whom we trust when making an investment without doing our own due diligence. I can almost hear some readers saying “ouch”!

One of the challenges we faced in the venture capital business was the mitigation of risk in early stage ventures. Usually, we did not have sufficient experience with the entrepreneurs approaching us for funding to deem them fully trustworthy. We addressed this dilemma by staging the investment over time against pre-agreed performance milestones. If the company missed the milestone, we did not invest any further funds. We wrote off the (reduced) amount invested and counted ourselves blessed that we had not invested the full amount requested at the outset!

Trust is something that must be earned, in every situation and relationship.

At the end of the day, does anyone claim to be completely trustworthy? If so, how can we verify their trustworthiness? As followers of Jesus, we understand from the Bible that he is completely trustworthy. After all, he fully sacrificed himself for each one of us and proved both the effectiveness of his sacrifice as well as his complete trustworthiness by his resurrection from the dead.

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. John 14:1

The foregoing is a huge assertion with enormous implications for marketplace leaders. It does not lend itself to quick proof statements. However, in our groups, individuals may safely explore the evidence supporting this claim. We encourage all marketplace leaders, including those who are highly sceptical about the personal relevance of faith in God, to try out a group.

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.